Local Institutions and Urban Growth: a Comparative Analysis of Political Markets for Land-Use in Europe

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2018•11•13    10:00 - 11:00


    Urban scholars over the last decade have empirically demonstrated how political institutions moderate the relative strength of development and environmental interests in the context of urban growth. Among the most important findings from this research is that wealth and pro-environmental political interests can contribute to a “sustainability paradox” in which natural amenities attract increased development and degradation of the resource. This seminar applies this political market framework in two countries with unique environmental and development pressures – Poland and Portugal – to explore the roles that political stability among elected mayors, financial autonomy and interest-group strength play in land-use patterns at the local level.

    In order to accomplish this goal, we employ remote sensing imagery to investigate land use/land cover changes (LUCC). The use of satellite-based sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth, including on the surface, allows us to analyze actual policy outcomes rather than simply the adoption and/or implementation of land use policies. By utilising a Bayesian approach, the study period covers the economic boom and bust from 2006 to 2012, which influenced global housing markets. We find evidence that both political tenure and stability and socio-economic conditions empower disparate land-use policy demanders and contribute to urban land-use patterns. The implications of the findings hold normative importance as urbanization across the globe continues and land-use changes exacerbate anthropogenic climate-change, environmental pollution and social equity concerns.


    António Tavares is Adjunct Associate Professor at UNU-EGOV. He is also Associate Professor and Director of the PhD in Administrative Sciences programme, and Chair of the Department of International Relations and Public Administration at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.

    He is co-editor of the Urban Affairs Review, the journal affiliated with the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. His research interests comprise topics in the fields of local government and urban politics, including policy-driven electronic governance, territorial reforms, urban and regional governance, and political and civic engagement. His research has been published in a wide range of journals in political science, public administration and urban studies, including the Journal of Urban Affairs, Local Government Studies, Policy Studies Journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences, and Public Management Review. He is a member of the team that annually publishes the Municipal Transparency Index, based on information available on the official websites of Portuguese local governments.

    António received a PhD in Public Administration and Policy from the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Minho, Portugal, and a BA in Organizational Sociology from the University of Minho, Portugal. He teaches Local Government, Theories of the Policy Process, and Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation and is involved in professional training for upper-level civil servants in the fields of public policy and public administration.

  • Seminar Announcement - António Tavares

    Seminar Announcement - António Tavares (285.0 KB PDF)


    Campus de Couros, Rua de Vila Flor 166,
    4810-445 Guimarães, Portugal

  • Email: egov@unu.edu
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